Nov. 12, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Lindsey Gray recorded career-highs in kills and digs to lead Georgia Tech (17-10, 9-8 ACC) to a 3-2 (24-30, 20-30, 30-13, 30-20, 15-12) comeback victory over North Carolina (8-19, 6-12 ACC) Sunday afternoon at Reynolds Gym in Chapel Hill, N.C.
After dropping the first two games to the Tar Heels, the Yellow Jackets won the last three to earn their fifth five-game victory of the season while extending their winning streak to six matches, which began with a 3-2 victory over Duke at the end of October. The Yellow Jackets have now won nine of their last 11 matches after beginning conference play 0-6.
“We started off slowly today, but our team is so determined to keep the momentum of this season going in our favor,” said Georgia Tech head coach Bond Shymansky. “Carolina jumped on us early, but our team showed great competitive composure and knew that they could battle back in game three. After they did, the momentum shifted in our favor and we didn’t let up.”
Gray led all players with a career-high 25 kills, while also recording a career-high 20 digs and five blocks against the Tar Heels.
“Lindsey Gray had a monster day and an incredible weekend,” said Shymansky. “She’s really discovered her all-around game and had a huge impact on the match.”
Joining Gray in double-figures in kills was sophomore Talisa Kellogg, who had 17 against UNC, while a total of five Yellow Jackets recorded double-figures in digs.
Along with Gray’s 12th double-double of the season was sophomore setter Allie Niekamp, who posted her 10th double-double with 52 assists and 11 digs. She also recorded four kills and three blocks in the match.
Rounding out the Yellow Jackets’ defensive efforts was Michelle Kandell, who had 13 digs on the afternoon, while middle blockers Nikki Kaminskas and Callie Miller recorded eight and seven blocks, respectively.
Overall, the Yellow Jackets recorded a season-best 104 digs while also posting 18 blocks in the match.
North Carolina used a 9-3 run, which included four attack errors by the Jackets and two blocks by the `Heels, to take control of the first game at 13-7. Georgia Tech would pull within one point on three occasions down the stretch, but would get no closer as the Tar Heels closed out the game with a 30-24 win. Tech hit just .018 in a game that was marred by attacking errors, while UNC managed just .153.
The Jackets’ hitting improved in game two, but they couldn’t overcome the .348 hitting percentage put up by the `Heels, who cruised to a 30-20 win to take a 2-0 lead in the match. UNC won six of the first eight points of the game and used a 13-4 run to take control of the game at 19-9.
Georgia Tech’s offense found its rhythm in the third game, winning 30-13 behind Gray’s 10 kills and Kellogg’s five kills, to shift the momentum in the Yellow Jackets’ direction. Tech used a 4-0 run to take an 11-4 lead early, and then closed out the game with an 8-1 run to pull within 2-1 in the match. The Jackets hit .333 in the game, while UNC hit just (-.047).
The Jackets kept up the pressure in game four, winning eight of the first nine points before cruising to a 30-20 win to set up the deciding game five; Georgia Tech was 4-3 in five-game matches headed into the match against the Tar Heels.
Tech relied on its net defense in the fifth game, recording three blocks at key moments to help the Yellow Jackets to a 15-12 win.
“The best part about the comeback win is that it’s on our last road match and now we get to go back to Atlanta and defend our homecourt for five-straight matches while making a serious bid for NCAA Tournament play,” concluded Shymansky.
The Yellow Jackets will return to action this Tuesday when they host the Clemson Tigers in their final midweek match of the season. The Tigers currently stand third in the conference standings, while Tech is in the middle of the pack. Live video for the match can be found on ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.tv), and livestats are available at www.ramblinwreck.com.